On June 5, Fresh Express released an Interim Report by its Blue-Ribbon Panel on the Prevention of Foodborne Cyclospora Outbreaks.
Multiple Cyclospora outbreaks were reported in the United States in the spring and summer of 2018, linking the outbreaks to fresh produce items and their suppliers. To address these outbreaks, Fresh Express formed a Blue-Ribbon Panel comprised of agricultural leaders—including Western Growers Senior Vice President, Strategic Planning, Science & Technology Hank Giclas—as well as scientists with deep expertise in the biology of the Cyclospora cayetanensis organism, food safety, outbreak response and public health.
The Blue-Ribbon Panel created four working groups focused on root cause assessment, preventive controls, collaboration and testing validation. The Interim Report contains the preliminary findings, recommendations and ongoing priorities of the four working groups to more effectively curtail Cyclospora outbreaks moving forward. The report also contains an easy-to-understand fact sheet about Cyclospora cayetanensis that outlines the illness and symptoms, testing methods, ways for growers, harvesters and handlers to reduce potential risk of contamination, and useful resources.
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